Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

A video on the Rosland Road Fire, which occurred in the summer of 2020,  highlights how prescribed fire and mechanical treatments benefit the long-term health and enjoyment of our forests.

Why do we burn?

  • It’s a cost-effective way to reduce hazardous fuels and decrease wildfire intensity
  • It increases the ability of firefighters to protect homes and lives
  • It can maintain and improve ecosystem health
  • It can improve wildlife habitat by increasing native grasses, forbs and shrubs


Low intensity underburn

Where will we burn?

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What is Prescribed Fire?

Prescribed fire can be used to reduce hazardous fuels around subdivisions. It is also one tool used by fire managers and ecologists to improve forest and rangeland health and protect the quality of our watersheds and wildlife habitat.

Prescribed fires are set when precise weather conditions allow for a variety of fire intensities to meet resource objectives. Prescribed fire specialists may spend years planning a burn and work very closely with wildlife biologists, foresters, hydrologists, and other resource managers, as well as adjacent landowners, to ensure the burn meets resource needs.

Prescribed fires are ignited when predicted weather patterns and fuel conditions will minimize smoke impacts to air quality and public health.

Depending on the desired outcome, fuels specialists have several types of burns they can implement, with varying intensities:

Underburns and Maintenance burns use small strips of fire to burn with low to moderate intensity to mimic a wildfire under controlled conditions in order to clean up downed woody debris, needles and duff, while removing small areas of shrubs and occasional pockets of trees.

Pile burning cleans up material leftover from a thinning project that is not used for biomass (firewood, fence posts, chips, energy production, etc.), and is done under cooler conditions since fuels specialists don’t want the fire to move beyond the pile being ignited.

Jackpot burning addresses high concentrations of naturally-occurring or thinning-related downed woody debris (not piled).

Broadcast burns are used when fuels specialists want to have a higher intensity burn where hotter fires are needed to reduce the amount of juniper on the landscape.

Prescribed fire underburn

Prescribed fire pile burn
Pile Burn

Prescribed fire broadcast burn
Broadcast Burn

Want to Learn More?

Mechanized Fuels Treatments - Thinning, mowing and other methods to reduce the fuels in the forest

Hazardous Fuels Reductions - Central Oregon Success Stories!

  • GW Fire - Previous fuels reduction projects cut back the impact of the 2007 GW Fire

  • Incident 595 - Another success thanks to fuels reductions